Love is in the air at Pinewood Lodge Care Home

14th February 2019

Love was in the air yesterday at Pinewood Lodge Care Home in South Oxhey as residents, and members of the community joined with children from local St Joseph’s School to make Valentine’s cards for their loved ones. 

The visit by four to five years olds was part of an innovative intergenerational project led by Three Rivers District Council Leisure Development Team. The team used to provide a tea dance for older people, but found that numbers were dwindling, so decided to look for an alternative way of engaging older people in the local community. Inspired by the programme ‘Care Homes for Four Year Olds’, they decided to create a project which would bring both older and younger people together in activities which everybody could enjoy. 

Named ‘Play with Care’, the project took off when the team made contact with Pinewood Lodge. The home provides care for 60 local older people as well as running a day centre for people who live independently in the local community, but need support during the day time. It was an ideal place to host the project, and the Home Manager and her team were delighted to get involved. 

The school children visit the day centre every Wednesday and carry out activities with the older participants. Activities have been specifically chosen to ensure that both groups can engage in them together and have included decorating biscuits, making bird feeders, making jewellery and today’s favourite which was making Valentine’s cards. The group have also had circus skills and magic training from entertainer Aunty Julie as well as an energetic Dinky Dancers class. 

Initially, the project is to run for six weeks. An evaluation of well-being was undertaken in the form of questionnaires for both the children and adults before the sessions began. Another review will then be carried out at the end to determine whether the project has been successful in terms of increasing well-being amongst the participants. Feedback received so far has been very positive. 

Hannah Henson, Leisure Support Officer, said: “We are so pleased with how the project is going. The interaction between the two groups has been amazing, and as each week passes, we have seen them all become more confident with each other. It is obvious how much everyone enjoys it when you see them smiling and laughing together.” 

Debbie Gilard, Head of Corporate Services for parent company Quantum Care said: “This is such a fantastic project and it is lovely to see how age is no barrier when it comes to having fun and Wednesdays have now become the favourite day of the week for the residents of Pinewood Lodge. For day centre members, some may be living alone in the community and projects such as these can really help people to re-connect with others. We have already seen the benefits of ‘Play with Care’ and hope that we can extend it to our other Day Centres in the area. We want  to say a huge thank you to Chelsi, Hannah and the Three Rivers District Council for making this happen.”